This conceptual thinking has a computational nature that extracts thinking from processing the series of mental symbols according to algorithms.Jerry Fodor specifically implements representational theory in supporting his position (Fodor 1987). According to representational theory, thinking occurs in the form of symbols that are actually the propositional attitudes described earlier (Fodor 1987). While Fodor argues that propositional attitudes should be represented not only as symbols but also as a language, he believes this ‘language of thought’ is different from spoken and written languages like English, French or German (Fodor 1987). Consider the following: ‘I don’t want to eat ladyfingers, so I’d better tell mom to make me French fries.’ According to representational theory, there is a state of a section of this individual’s brain that represents his or her unwillingness to eat ladyfingers (Fodor 1987). There is another section of this individual’s brain that represents his or her way of avoiding ladyfingers; namely, to tell their mom to cook something else (Fodor 1987). Thirdly, there is a small piece of brain circuitry that is linking these two states and instigating an action (Fodor 1987). LOTH asserts that the representation of the decision in this example here has to be structured. That is, it has to be structured just like a sentence articulating that decision.Fodor’s LOTH further states that the structure of symbolic representation in the mind and the linguistic representation of that symbolic representation must be related. That is, the structure of the brain state matching the decision of eating French fries will be equivalent to the structure of the sentence articulating the decision. One considers another example: ‘There is a suspicion crossing my mind that a rat is under my bed’. The ‘suspicion’ is expressed in a sentence: ‘A rat is under my bed.’ According to LOTH, there is a physical state inside the brain that gives rise to this suspicion. This physical state is further divisible into sub-states. Rat is one sub-state, bed is another sub-state, and the other words that are parts of the sentence are other sub-states. The decision of eating French fries and the suspicion of having a rat under the bed is what Fodor calls beliefs. An individual has a belief that the best way to avoid ladyfingers is to ask his or her mom to cook something
Fodor, J.A., (1975). The Language of Thought (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1975).
Fodor, J.A., (1987). Psychosemantics: The Problem of Meaning in the Philosophy of Mind (Cambridge MS: MIT Press, 1987).
Fodor, J.A., (1987). ‘Why there still has to be a language of thought’, in Psychosomatics: the Problem of Meaning in the Philosophy of Mind (MIT Press, Cambridge, 1987), pp. 136-154.
Fodor, J.A. & Pylyshyn, Z.W., (1988). ‘Connectionism and cognitive architecture: a critical analysis’, Cognition, vol. 28, issue 1-2, 1988, pp. 3-71.
Rowlands, M., (1999). The Body in Mind: Understanding Cognitive Processes (Cambridge University Press, USA, 1999), p. 27.
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